2011-09-08 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.

10:50 PM WikiLeaks releases continue to receive significant coverage in Taiwan.
Newspaper United Daily News reports: "The leaked AIT (American Institute in Taiwan) cables are like a magnifying glass in which politicians' abilities to enchant their voters has been removed and hence, the leaked information has set a time-bomb for next year's presidential and legislative elections".

09:00 PM According to a U.S. Embassy cable from October 2006, three bomb explosions may have been orchestrated by the Government of Ethiopia in an attempt to justify its crackdown on Oromo political activists:

"The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) said that the intended terror plot had failed and the bombs had mistakenly gone off while the suspects were preparing them while hiding out at an illegally built house. Two of the suspects died immediately, while another died on the way to the hospital. One other is in critical condition. The police task force reported having others in custody related to the plot and that evidence shows the terrorists had ties to Oromo groups (…)", the cable reads.
However, a reliable source reported "that the deceased had not died not while constructing a bomb, but rather at the hands of GoE cadres. The men were allegedly "picked up by police a week prior, kept in detention and tortured (…) police then left the men in a house and detonated explosives nearby, killing 3 of them."

08:10 PM A cable dated 22nd October 2007 concerning Blackwater’s unprovoked attack on unarmed civilians at Nisoor Square, in September of the same year, which resulted in the death of 17 Iraqi civilians.

08:05 PM Expecting Civilian Deaths, US Embassy Approved of Deadly Attack on Crowded Haitian Slum
During a meeting on the 4th January 2006, Reginald Boulos, a prominent Haitian businessman and a top U.S. Embassy official urged UN occupation troops to launch an attack on armed groups in Port-au-Prince slum Cité Soleil knowing it would "cause unintended civilian casualties":

The battle for Cité Soleil continued for the next year and a half, producing scores of “unintended civilian casualties.” Today, Carney, now retired, says that he has no regrets “whatsoever” about the advice he gave Boulos and the UN, although he admits to learning that “there's no such thing as a surgical operation.” via Haiti Liberté

08:00 PM Various online reactions to leaked Zimbabwe cables.

07:00 PM A video of Julian Assange speaking at Medienwoche 2011 can now be seen on vimeo.

06:45 PM Alex Gibney’s documentary about WikiLeaks, produced by Universal, is expected to be out ‘sometime next year’. (Note that contrary to what is stated in the article, no charges have been made against Julian Assange.)

06:40 PM Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah is a decade older than previously assumed; consumed Viagra at age 92.

06:05 PM Sandal queen Mayawati wants Julian Assange committed, newspaper The Australian reports on the heated and humorous public exchange between Indian Chief Minister Mayawati and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

06:00 PM A piece from December, 2010, in which journalist Philip Dorling recounts how he obtained U.S. Embassy cables from WikiLeaks.

03:00 PM "The Council of Europe, an international organization separate to the EU, has released a document that seeks to hold secret services accountable for their actions."
The report, titled Abuse of State Secrecy and National Security, praises both WikiLeaks and alleged whistleblower Bradley Manning, while condemning the ‘cult of secrecy’ that allows for abuses to be covered.

The following text is an excerpt from the report:

"…we cannot ignore that according to the very accusations made against him we are indebted to him for the publication both of a recording of a helicopter attack in Iraq, in which the crew seems to have intentionally targeted and killed civilians. The video recording seemingly indicates a deliberate criminal act which deserves at least an investigation, which, without this indiscretion, would have never been requested. This is a classic example of an illegitimate secret. In addition, the publication of a large number of embassy reports has allowed us to learn significant details of important recent events and which are obviously of general interest. We must not forget either that these publications have brought numerous confirmations of findings included in the Assembly’s reports of 2006 and 2007 on the CIA flights and secret prisons. All those who at the time called for “proof, proof!” have in any case been well served."